COLUMBIA- A week after throwing out his depth chart and essentially putting all starting jobs up for grabs, Mizzou head football coach Eliah Drinkwitz sounded encouraged by his team's response. Speaking at his weekly news conference leading up to Missouri's match-up with 21st ranked Texas A&M, Drinkwitz applauded the effort he saw in the Tigers' win over North Texas.
"What did you think the vibe was when they played?" Drinkwitz asked rhetorically on Tuesday. "Tyler Badie's run in the 3rd quarter (vs North Texas) was as strong a run that I've seen a running back have in a long time. That's heart."
Drinkwitz was referring to Badie's bruising run in the 3rd quarter against the Mean Green where he spun off two tacklers and sprinted inside the UNT 20 yard line.
Drinkwitz praised his team's renewed energy against North Texas, saying he felt the Tigers were better prepared to play.
"That's undeniable effort," said Drinkwitz. "To me that's the response. Was it perfect? No. Believe me I got plenty of DM's and mentions that it's not perfect."
"I get it. We want it to be perfect. We'll get there. We'll get there. But what was good, was the effort we played with. Was the mentality that we had. We were ready to go when the ball was kicked."
Drinkwitz stressed that Mizzou's renewed emphasis on fundamentals and competing in practice will need to continue. The Tigers face a Texas A&M team that just handed previously number 1 ranked Alabama its first loss in 19 games. While he game plans for the Aggies, Drinkwitz and his coaching staff must also keep an eye on the future of their program.
"We all want to win Saturday. Do we want to win today in practice? Do we want to win in meetings today? Do we show the effort that it's gonna take in the meetings and at practice in order to execute and play well on Saturday?"
"That's what we have to control," continued Drinkwitz. "And that's the message that I've got to continue preach for this program to continue to lay the foundation for what we're going to be."
"That's what we've got to do consistently in order to be that kind of team, to be a contender."
The Tigers and the 21st ranked Aggies kick off at 11 am on Saturday at Faurot Field. It will be Mizzou's third straight home game before the Tigers have a bye week followed by trips to Vanderbilt and Georgia.